Erin Fairs

Athletes Unlimited, Aspiration enter historic multi-year partnership

Erin Fairs
Athletes Unlimited
Dec 10, 2021
  • Athletes Unlimited set to operate first U.S.-based carbon neutral professional sports leagues
  • Aspiration selected as eco-partner of choice, having unparalleled knowledge and capabilities in the sustainability space
  • Partnership is largest in Athletes Unlimited history

Athletes Unlimited and Aspiration have entered a historic multi-year partnership, setting the stage for Athletes Unlimited to run the first U.S.-based carbon neutral professional sports leagues, beginning with the inauguration of Athletes Unlimited Basketball in January 2022, and continuing through its volleyball, lacrosse and softball leagues. Aspiration, the world’s leader in sustainability as a service solution for consumers and companies, is joining forces with Athletes Unlimited as a top-tier partner across its growing community of women’s professional sports leagues.

Aspiration empowers companies to build climate change-fighting action into what they do every day in ways that make it easy, automated, engaging and yet still enormously powerful. Aspiration becomes the latest in a rapidly expanding list of corporate partners dedicated to growing Athletes Unlimited’s network of leagues and providing engagement opportunities for its fans. The partnership – which runs through 2023 – will ensure that the fight against climate change is built into Athletes Unlimited’s daily activity, as well as athlete and fan experiences. It marks a substantially increased investment by Aspiration in Athletes Unlimited’s innovative model and its community of civic-minded athletes and fans. 

The partnership is the largest in Athletes Unlimited’s history, and involves the organization’s first-ever jersey sponsorship, with basketball and volleyball uniforms set to include Aspiration patches for the next two seasons. Aspiration – which previously sponsored Athletes Unlimited Softball in 2020 and 2021 – will receive physical and digital signage elements and activations that promote sustainability across all four leagues. In addition, Aspiration will activate across Athletes Unlimited’s network of media partners, including becoming the presenting partner of five national broadcasts for each league per season. 

Athletes Unlimited CEO Jon Patricof said: “Aspiration is a perfect partner for Athletes Unlimited and we couldn’t be more pleased to expand their presence in our community. Our innovative mindsets and core values are precisely aligned, highlighted by a deep-seated commitment to growing our leagues, investing in our athletes and bettering the world around us. Social responsibility is one of the foundations on which Athletes Unlimited was built, and Aspiration’s expertise will help advise and guide us on how we can minimize our environmental impact.

“This partnership is a testament to the continued growth and traction of the fast-growing sector of women’s pro sports, as well as the power of building complementary leagues across four sports, a network of national TV and digital partners, and robust fan engagement platforms.  Aspiration is joining a growing group of like-minded partners that see the incredible opportunity ahead of us, and know we are just getting started.”

As part of the partnership, Aspiration will utilize its products and services that help corporations easily and economically assess and address their carbon footprint. Aspiration is currently conducting a comprehensive carbon assessment to determine Athletes Unlimited’s overall footprint. Following the assessment, Athletes Unlimited will work with Aspiration to define its long-term sustainability goals, vision and strategy with immediate effect.  

Aspiration CEO Andrei Cherny said: “Teaming up with Athletes Unlimited, a game changer in the sports industry, feels like the perfect fit. We both are founded on values of conscience and concern for people and the planet. We couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to share the deep understanding we have when it comes to sustainability, and how we can continue expanding this partnership with Athletes Unlimited.”

The partnership will also involve the integration of The Aspiration Difference programming in each Athletes Unlimited league, including ‘Trees for Threes’ in basketball with 10 trees planted for every successful three-pointer, and a continuation of 2020’s ‘Round the Bases’ in softball whereby 100 trees are planted for every run scored. Plans are currently in development for volleyball and lacrosse. 

Aspiration will also help craft reforestation campaigns that engage Athlete Unlimited fans, including by allowing carbon offsetting via ticket purchases. Athletes Unlimited will incorporate Aspiration’s “Planet Protection” program into every ticket sold, with contributions funding carbon removal projects around the world. More information on the  sustainability efforts can be found at AUProSports.com/sustainability

Aspiration recently entered into a merger agreement with InterPrivate III Financial Partners Inc. (NYSE: IPVF), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, which, upon closing, will result in Aspiration becoming a listed company as a Public Benefit Corporation, building on Aspiration’s existing commitments to generate social and public good and operate in a responsible and sustainable manner.

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